Philadelphia’s Gaelic Athletics Association season continues Sunday with three Irish football games scheduled for the afternoon.
Bragging rights are on the line in two of the match-ups. In the first game, starting at 1 o’clock at cardinal Dougherty High School in West Oak Lane, the St Pats and Eire Og will slug it out for the Junior C title, says GAA chair Sean Breen. In the second game, two women’s teams—the Mairead Farrells and the Notre Dames—will vie for the Mairead Farrell Cup.
In the last game, the Kevin Barrys and the Young Irelands will play the first of a two-game set for the Philadelphia senior championship.
(And if you’re at the field earlier in the day, you can see some the GAA youth teams playing a series of games as a warm-up to the adult matches.)
Cardinal Dougherty is at 6301 North 2nd Street. The school is closed, alas, but the GAA will be holding court there most Sundays through the rest of the summer.
Starting next summer, though, Breen is hopeful the GAA will be in new digs at a new 11-acre facility in Limerick Township.
Right now, digging is all that’s going on.
“We started on the property last month,” says Breen. “We cut down some trees, and put up an erosion control fence. We’ve also done the entrance way and set up a trailer. Within the next week to week-and-a-half, the dozers will be coming in to remove the topsoil and do all the rough grading. We’re hoping to get at least one field ready for springtime next year.”
The project will bring modern facilities, including shower and locker space, to the Philly GAA. And the project will also mark an important “first” among all U.S. GAA branches. “We own the property,’ says Breen. We’re the only GAA organization in America that owns their own property. This is a really unique situation. We’re in control of our own destiny, and that’s what makes it big for us.”
The project is estimated to cost $2.2 million. The Philly GAA is making good progress toward that goal, and hoping for matching funds from the GAA in Ireland. One major fund-raiser is really humming along. The GAA is holding a raffle on August 22. The grand prize—the only prize—is $40,000. The group started selling tickets in March, and they’re moving. More than half the tickets are sold.
More fund-raising is planned, including a golf outing in the fall.
If you’ve never seen Irish sports in action, Sunday looks like a good day for it: mostly sunny and highs around 90. (But who are we fooling? We’ve seen these guys play in thunderstorms and lakes of mud.) These are the sports of your ancestors. Check out Dougherty on Sunday.